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This was an offseason that saw a major overhaul in New England. Coming off a 7-9 season the Pats signed more than a dozen free agents to make instant improvements and drafted a potential franchise quarterback in Mac Jones. They lost eight players who opted out of last season because of COVID and struggled with quarterback issues. I think it was pretty remarkable they did as well as they did.
Belichick re-signed Cam Newton at quarterback and hope that he will play better than he did in 2020. They need better production out of him if they are going to improve. The running back combo of Damien Harris and Sony Michel was adequate and 4th-round draft pick Rhamondre Stevenson might be a steal. At receiver which has been a problem, they signed the top two tight ends available in Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. They also should receive some help from free agent wide-outs Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne. Holdover Jakobi Meyers had 59 catches for 729 yards. The offensive line is solid and is the strength of this offense.
On defense, they made attempts to improve what was the weakest part of their game. They signed free agents, Davon Godchaux and Montravious Adams and drafted Christian Barmore and Ronnie Perkins in what they hope is an upgrade. Linebacker, Dont’a Hightower opted out last season and he will return and that will boost that position. They also brought back Kyle Van Noy in free agency. The secondary is solid with Stephen Gilmore and J.C. Jackson at corner and safety Devin McCourty.
Must Wins: Miami, New Orleans, NY Jets, Jacksonville, at NY Jets, at Houston, at Carolina
Toss-Up Games: Tampa Bay, Dallas, Cleveland, Tennessee, Buffalo, at LA Chargers, at Atlanta
Probable Losses: at Buffalo, at Indianapolis, at Miami
Summary in Two Sentences: They made a ton of changes in the offseason and they are all upgrades. But, the season boils down to whether Cam Newton can hold up his end of the bargain at quarterback and make enough plays to win the toss-up games.
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